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STUDYING
Things you should know
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
What is Psychology?
Psychology is the science of the mind and behaviour. The word "psychology" comes from the
Greek word psyche meaning "breath, spirit, soul", and the Greek word logia meaning “the
study of something”.
According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, psychology is "The profession concerned with
the behaviour of humans and animals, and related mental and physiologic processes."
Although psychology may also include the study of the mind and behaviour of animals,
psychology refers mainly to humans.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
How do psychologists study the mind?
The mind is highly complex and enigmatic. Many wonder how psychologists can study such an
intricate, seemingly abstract and extremely sophisticated thing. Even if scientists look inside the
brain, as in an autopsy or during a surgical operation, all they see is gray matter (the brain).
Thoughts, cognition, emotions, memories, dreams, perceptions, etc. cannot be seen physically, like
a skin rash or heart defect.
Experts say that the approach to psychology is not that different to other sciences. As in other
sciences, experiments are devised to confirm or disprove theories or expectations. For a physicist,
the raw data during the experiments may be atoms, electrons, the application or withdrawal of heat,
while for the psychologist ,human behaviour is the raw data.
For a psychologist, human behaviour is used as evidence - or at least an indication - of how the
mind functions. We are unable to observe the mind directly; however, virtually all our actions,
feelings and thoughts are influenced by the functioning of our minds. That is why human behaviour
is used as raw data for testing psychological theories on how the mind functions.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
A brief History of Psychology
When psychology was first established as a science separate from biology and philosophy, the
debate over how to describe and explain the human mind and behaviour began. The different
schools of psychology represent the major theories within psychology.
The first school of thought, structuralism, was advocated by the founder of the first psychology
lab, Wilhelm Wundt. Almost immediately, other theories began to emerge and vie for
dominance in psychology.
In the past, psychologists often identified themselves exclusively with one single school of
thought. Today, most psychologists have an eclectic outlook on psychology. They often draw
on ideas and theories from different schools rather than holding to any singular outlook.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Schools of Thought
Structuralism & Functionalism
Structuralism was the first school of psychology, and focused on breaking down mental
processes into the most basic components. Major structuralist thinkers include Wilhelm Wundt
and Edward Titchener. The focus of structuralism was on reducing mental processes down into
their most basic elements. Structuralists used techniques such as introspection to analyze the
inner processes of the human mind.
Functionalism formed as a reaction to the theories of the structuralist school of thought and was
heavily influenced by the work of William James. Major functionalist thinkers included John
Dewey and Harvey Carr. Instead of focusing on the mental processes themselves, functionalist
thinkers were instead interested in the role that these processes play.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Behaviourism
Behaviourism became a dominant school of thought during the 1950s. It was based upon the work of
thinkers such as:
•John B. Watson
•Ivan Pavlov
•B. F. Skinner
Behaviourism suggests that all behaviour can be explained by environmental causes rather than by
internal forces. Behaviorism is focused on observable behaviour. Theories of learning including
classical conditioning and operant conditioning were the focus of a great deal of research
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a school of psychology founded by Sigmund Freud. This school of thought
emphasizes the influence of the unconscious mind on behaviour.
Freud believed that the human mind was composed of three elements: the id, the ego and the
superego. The id is composed of primal urges, while the ego is the component of personality
charged with dealing with reality. The superego is the part of personality that holds all of the
ideals and values we internalize from our parents and culture. Freud believed that the interaction
of these three elements was what led to all of the complex human behaviours.
Freud's school of thought was enormously influential, but also generated a great deal of
controversy. This controversy existed not only in his time, but also in modern
discussions of Freud's theories
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Humanistic Psychology
Humanistic psychology developed as a response to psychoanalysis and behaviourism. Humanistic
psychology instead focused on individual free will, personal growth and the concept of selfactualization. While early schools of thought were largely centred on abnormal human behaviour,
humanistic psychology differed considerably in its emphasis on helping people achieve and fulfil
their potential. Major humanist thinkers include:
•Abraham Maslow
•Carl Rogers.
Humanistic psychology remains quite popular today and has
had a major influence on other areas of psychology including
positive psychology. This particular branch of psychology is
centred on helping people living happier, more fulfilling lives.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Cognitive Psychology
Cognitive psychology is the school of psychology that studies mental processes including how
people think, perceive, remember and learn. As part of the larger field of cognitive science, this
branch of psychology is related to other disciplines including neuroscience, philosophy and
linguistics.
Cognitive psychology began to emerge during the 1950s, partly as a response to behaviourism.
Critics of behaviourism noted that it failed to account for how internal processes impacted
behaviour. This period of time is sometimes referred to as the "cognitive revolution" as a wealth of
research on topics such as information processing, language, memory and perception began to
emerge.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
What are the Admission Requirements for an undergraduate degree in
psychology?
*Please note these requirements are based on UCT’s brochure for 2013 and therefore other institutions may
differ.
• The minimum admissions requirement for the Bachelors degree is a National Senior
Certificate (NSC) with an achievement rating of 4 (Adequate Achievement, 50-59%) or better
in four subjects chosen from a designated list of subjects. These subjects are: Accounting,
Agricultural Sciences, Business Studies, Dramatic Arts, Economics, Engineering Graphics
and design, Geography, History, Consumer Studies, Information Technology, Languages, Life
Sciences, Mathematics, Mathematical Literacy, Music, Physical Sciences, Religion Studies,
Visual Arts.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Calculation of the Admissions Points Score (APS)
• The percentages achieved in National Senior Certificate
(preliminary and final examinations) will be allocated an
admissions score equal to that percentage. The sum of six
subject scores, excluding Life Orientation, but English and any
other required subject(s) for the relevant programme is considered
when deciding on admission. (In other words, for a given programme where Maths
and Physical Sciences are required, the scores for English, Maths Physical Sciences and the
next three best subjects other than Life Orientation will be taken to compute the NSC score
toward the APS).
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Examples of APS Calculations:
Faculty of Humanities:
English Home Language
70% = 70 pts
Mathematics
84% = 84 pts
Life Sciences
86% = 86 pts
Geography
79% = 79 pts
Accounting
69% = 69 pts
Life Orientation
80% = 0 pts
Mathematics P3
70% = 70 pts
Total = 463 / 600
APS = 463
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
National Benchmark Test (NBT’s)
• All first time entering undergraduate applicants normally resident in South Africa are required to
write the National Benchmark Tests (NBT’s) prior to admission. Applicants are required to meet
the costs of writing the NBT’s.
• The NBT that you will be required to write will be the Academic and Quantitative Literacy test
(AQL) which consists of two components, namely, academic literacy (AL) and Quantitative
Literacy (QL). You will be awarded separate scores for each component, even though they are
written as one test.
Note: You must
• Register for the NBT’s before you apply online (or before you submit a paper application form);
•Include your NBT registration number on your application;
•Have written your NBT’s by the allocated cut off date per year.
For further information about the NBT’s, dates and venues please visit www.nbt.uct.ac.za or 021
650 5462.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
The Minimum Requirements for a BA and BSocSc (majoring in psychology)
• English 50%
• APS of 380 (63%)
• AL Upper Intermediate
• QL of 69% or NSC Maths 50%
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Do not meet the requirements/ wanting a career that involves and element of
Psychology but not specifically in psychology?
Why not consider Life Coaching?
Life coaching is a practice that helps people identify and achieve personal goals. Life coaches
help clients set and reach goals using a variety of tools and techniques. Life coaches are
neither therapists nor consultants; psychological intervention and business analysis are outside
the scope of their work. Life coaching draws inspiration from disciplines including sociology,
psychology, positive adult development, career counselling, mentoring and other types of
counselling. Contemporary life coaching can be traced to the teachings of Benjamin Karter, a
college football coach turned motivational speaker of the late 1970s and early 1980s.Many LifeCoach training schools and programs are available worldwide, providing options (classroom
attendance or home study) for the individual who wants to gain a certificate or diploma and paid
work in the field of life coaching.
Critics contend that life coaching is akin to psychotherapy without restrictions, oversight, or
regulation. However, the Colorado General Assembly, after holding a hearing on such concerns,
asserted that coaching is unlike therapy because it does not focus on examining nor diagnosing
the past.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
WHAT CHOICES DO I
HAVE NOW AT UNI FOR
A DEGREE INVOLVING
PSYCHOLOGY?
Alternate Degree in Courses
Psychology forms a valuable
part of these degree courses.
Such courses would be:
- Social Worker
- Human Resources
- Occupational Therapy
Psychology as my major:
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Social Sciences
Specialist career as a
Psychologist
OR
Non specialist Careers:
- Advertising, Marketing,
Journalist
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
WHAT WILL I STUDY IN A PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE?
*Based on UCT’s curriculum (other institutes may vary)
FIRST YEAR
One of the following:
PSY1001W Psychology I
PSY1003W Psychology Foundation
SECOND YEAR
PSY2006F Research in Psychology I &
TWO of the following:
PSY2003S Social Psychology and Intergroup Relations
PSY2009F Developmental Psychology (was PSY207F)
PSY2010S Cognition and Neuroscience (was PSY2005S)
PSY2011F Clinical Psychology 1 (was PSY2008F)
THIRD YEAR
PSY3007S Research in Psychology II &
TWO of the following:
PSY3005F Critical Psychology
PSY3008F Health Psychology (was PSY306F)
PSY3009F Applied Cognitive Science (not offered in 2009)
PSY3010S Introduction to Clinical Neuropsychology
PSY3011S Clinical Psychology 2 (was PSY3004S)
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
AFTER COMPLETING YOUR DEGREE
Once you have completed your degree, with psychology as a major, then you have to decide:
•Do you go on with psychology?
Or
•Do you want to follow a different career?
Again, you can do further studies in psychology to become a psychologist, but can also use it as
general background to another career.
This is a very useful feature of psychology, because it leaves you with so many options, after your
Bachelors degree, as well as subsequent postgraduate degrees. So even when you are doing a
postgraduate degree in psychology, you can still ask the question:
•Now that I am studying for a post graduate degree in psychology, what are my options?
We show this process on the following page. Keep in mind, though, there is strong competition for
Prepared
by Sally Waltho,
the limited places available in postgraduate
programmes
in psychology.
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
NOW I HAVE MY DEGREE WHAT
NEXT?
B.A. OR BSOC.SCI DEGREE
With a major Psych
Study Further
Look for Employment
Career Options:
1. Honours
2 Masters
3. PhD
-Advertising & Marketing
-Personnel Work
-Facilitator
-Researcher
SPECIALIST CAREER
IN PSYCHOLOGY!!
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
NOW THAT I HAVE COMPLETED A POST GRADUATE
DEGREE (HONOURS), WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
•SEEK EMPLOYMENT
•BECOME A REGISTERED COUNSELLOR
• BECOME A REGISTERED
PSYCHOMETRIST
• FURTHER MY STUDIES TO MASTERS/
PhD LEVEL
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
WHAT CAN I DO WITH MY POST GRADUATE HONOURS DEGREE?
Career Options:
There are a wide variety
of career options open to
graduates
+2 years Masters Programme (includes
thesis, coursework & internship):
•Registered Psychologist
B.SOC.SCI (HONS) / B.A.
(HONS)
+ 6 /12 month internship:
•Registered Counsellor
•Registered Psychometrist
Continue with your studies doing research
in your:
•M.A or M.SOC.SCI (Research) and PhD
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
BECOMING A REGISTERED COUNSELLOR
What is the difference between a psychologist and a counsellor?
A Counsellor generally provides more short term counselling intervention and deals with
less complex presenting concerns. Often, they have specialized in a particular field of
counselling, such as trauma counselling.
A Psychologist undergoes additional specialised training. They are therefore able to
diagnose and intervene within a wider range of scope of practice, manage more complex
and serious presenting clinical concerns and provide more indepth and
psychotherapy.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
longer term
BECOMING A REGISTERED PSYCHOMETRIST
What is a Psychometrist?
Psychometrists are trained professionals who are able to administer, score and
interpret certain assessments. Psychometric assessments are tests, exercises, or
questionnaires which measure the intellectual, cognitive, behavioural and personality
constructs of an individual. These tests provide information enabling decisions
regarding relevant recommendations in a clinical setting; or selection, development, or
promotion in an organisational setting.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
Why would I want to become a registered Psychometrist or Counsellor rather
than going directly into the Masters Programme to become a registered
Psychologist?
• Masters programmes are exceptionally difficult to get into. The selection process does not
only take a student’s grades into account but their age, relevant psychological experience,
life experience etc. A lot of students then choose to gain the relevant psychological and life
experience through these channels before applying for their Masters. Other students who
have applied for their Masters, and were not selected also choose this path to gain
experience before applying again.
• Lastly, students may realise that they prefer the assessment of different constructs of
behaviour rather than the treatment thereof. In such instances, a student may choose the
psychometry route where they can work either in their own independent practice or under
the supervision of a registered psychologist.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
CAREERS AS A REGISTERED
PSYCHOLOGIST CONT...
Counselling Psychologist
Counseling psychologists participate in a range of activities including teaching, research,
psychotherapeutic and counselling practice, career development, assessment, supervision,
and consultation. They employ a variety of methods closely tied to theory and research to
help individuals, groups and organizations function optimally as well as to mediate
dysfunction. Interventions may be either brief or long-term; they are often problem-specific
and goal-directed. These activities are guided by a philosophy that values individual
differences and diversity and a focus on prevention, development, and adjustment across the
life-span which includes vocational concerns.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
CAREERS AS A REGISTERED
PSYCHOLOGIST...CONT
Clinical Psychologists
Like Counselling psychologists, Clinical psychologists aim to reduce psychological distress and to
enhance and promote psychological well-being. They deal with a number of mental and physical
problems including anxiety, depression, addiction and relationship problems. To assess clients,
they use a variety of methods including psychometric tests, interview and observation and work
primarily in health and social care settings including hospitals and community mental health
teams. Due to their role as a scientist-practitioner they are also involved heavily with research and
in evaluation of current services to provide a strong evidence base for practice.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
CAREERS AS A REGISTERED
PSYCHOLOGIST CONT...
The Difference between a Clinical and Counselling Psychologist?
There is considerable overlap between counselling and clinical psychology.
Traditionally however, the main difference between counselling and clinical psychology
is their perspective and training. Counselling psychologists, in general, focus more on
healthier, less pathological populations whereas Clinical psychologists focus on
individuals with more serious mental health issues such as personality disorders and
psychosis..
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
CAREERS AS A REGISTERED
PSYCHOLOGIST... CONT
Educational Psychologist
This is an exciting field of work in which the focus is on the optimal emotional, cognitive and
educational development of the child/adult in his or her environment. The work of an
Educational
psychologist
includes
psychological
and
scholastic
assessment
of
children/adults who are experiencing emotional and /or academic problems or barriers to
learning and development. Such work may include play therapy or counselling, and parent
education and counselling. Also, work with teachers, parents / caregivers and communities
plays an important role since all levels of the child’s environment are considered too.
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
CAREERS AS A REGISTERED
PSYCHOLOGIST CONT...
Research Psychologist
For persons who are interested in psychology as the scientific study of human behaviour,
rather than in the applied field of therapy, there is the possibility of a directed MA degree in
Research Psychology. The aim here is to train social scientists as researchers and as
consultants in the general area of psychological and social science research. This will enable
them to pursue a career in industry, commerce, universities or public institutions in various
research-related fields.
It is of relevance to persons contemplating a career in, for example,
marketing, management, or information technology. There is a selection
process for a limited number of places
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE CHOSEN YOUR FIELD OF
PSYCHOLOGY AS YOUR FUTURE FIELD GOOD LUCK AND ENJOY
EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice
References:
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154874.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_coach#Life_coaching
http://psychology.about.com/od/historyofpsychology/a/schoolsthought.htm
http://www.uct.ac.za/apply/student/undergradpros/
http://web.uct.ac.za/depts/psychology/starting.pdf
http://www.jobs.co.za/job-seekers/career-advice/article/98/understanding-psychometricassessments
http://www.harleytherapy.co.uk/counselling/counselling-psychologist-clinicalpsychologist.htm
http://www.unisa.ac.za/Default.asp?Cmd=ViewContent&ContentID=13555
Prepared by Sally Waltho,
Psychometrist - Claremont Practice

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